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Titus Andronicus

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  25,030 ratings  ·  1,682 reviews
This controversial new series raises fundamental questions about the authenticity of Shakespeare's texts as we know them today. In a radical departure from existing series, it presents the earliest known editions of Shakespeare's plays -- which often differ substantially from the present versions -- and argues that these are the most authentic we have. ...more
Paperback, Arden Shakespeare: Third Series, 308 pages
Published March 16th 1995 by Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare (first published 1594)
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Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Literally years after people began suggesting that I do this, I finally got around to reading the damn play. So in the words of Bette Davis: fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. Because here's


TITUS: Man, it's great to be me! I'm an awesome general, all my super-handsome sons are awesome, I have a hot daughter who's engaged to a great guy, and even though the emperor just married my enemy Queen Tamora I'm sure that can never backfire on me! Yessireee,
Bill Kerwin

Like A Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus is part of a grammar-school-educated Shakespeare's crash-course substitute for a university education. In Errors, he imitated Plautine comedy's plot structure and stock characters, and--in an experiment to see just how much fun the form could hold--doubled the number of comic misunderstandings by doubling the number of identical twins. In Titus, he imitates the violent plots and magisterial rhetoric of Senecan tragedy, and--again as an experiment--double
Ahmad Sharabiani
Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593, probably in collaboration with George Peele.

It is thought to be Shakespeare's first tragedy and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were extremely popular with audiences throughout the 16th century.

The play is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire and tells the fictional sto
Barry Pierce
I would be incredibly surprised if I read a play worse than Titus Andronicus in this challenge. Titus was Shakespeare’s first attempt at staging a classical tragedy – something which he will eventually go on to get so right in works such as Julius Caesar. The basic plot follows a Roman general (our Titus) who is victorious in a battle against the Goths. As a reward Titus brings the queen of the Goths and her sons back to Rome. Titus is a silly billy however because he kills one of the queen’s so ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pulp fiction for the 1600s, Quentin Tarantino in lace collar and puffy pants.

If anyone thinks that Shakespeare is dry and timid, flowery and antiquated, they need to see this, but beware: this is a bloody mess.

One critic, complaining that it was such a caricature that only Mel Brooks should direct, may be close, but I would have Tarantino direct. Another critic wrote that this was the ultimate revenge story and I agree with that as well.

Is it too brutal, too graphically violent for the stage?
Wherein Shakespeare beats Quentin Tarantino at being Quentin Tarantino.
Sean Barrs
I saw this at Shakespeare’s Globe in London last summer, and was absolutely amazed at the brutal brilliance of the production. The actor who played Titus was superb; he captured Titus’s decent into madness perfectly by evoking a character that started out as strong and fearless to one who ended up unhinged and brutal. It is no wonder though that Titus fell into depravity because his house, and name, has been torn apart by revenge. Consequently, he embraces revenge, causing his madness, because h ...more
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite of the lesser-known works, this has got more outright horror than most contemporary slasher novels. Sure, the rhetoric is a bit stilted and Shakespeare borrows heavily from Ovid, but it's a fascinating study of the bottomless pit that people can find themselves in once they succumb to the lure of violence. ...more
E. G.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
General Introduction
The Chronology of Shakespeare's Works
Introduction, by Jacques Berthoud
The Play in Performance
Further Reading

--The Most Lamentable Roman Tragedy of Titus Andronicus

An Account of the Text
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary

The only piece of advice I can give is: Prepare yourself, you are about to enter into a world that knows no bounds when it comes to the old saying "enough is enough." Billy saw the line, spit on the line, and then crossed the line.

If reading Shakespeare isn't high on your list, there is an excellent movie called Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins.

Just try not to read/watch it before may spoil your appetite.

Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This violent play is Shakespeare's first tragedy
i liked the general idea of revenge and justice
but i didn't enjoy it much, it was really a bloody play
"And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators!"

- William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Act III.1


Shakespeare's first Tragedy is not perfect. It is bloody, predictable, racist, and gratuitous to the extreme. However, it probably deserves better attention than it usually gets (well there is the Julie Taymor film). I think this early Shakespeare's villain (Aaron the Moor) is diabolical and fantastic. Yes, I'm not a fan of the easy way the moor (or often the Jew) become
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
This play was a bloody, barbaric mess with 90% of the characters dying. I really enjoyed the whole concept of it and how twisted it was however, it was a little bit too savage for my tastes at points, namely the whole Lavinia situation.
Not my favourite Shakespeare play but I definitely think it's worth reading! It's interesting to read this, his first tragedy, and see the elements that have carried onto his later tragedies.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one

Cannibalism, rape, many murders, dismemberment, torture, and infanticide.


Widely regarded as Shakespeare's worst, most despicable play, some people defend him by saying he didn't even write it - that he was just credited with it and it was penned by another.

It's not really the play that comes to mind when people think of old Bill. :)

The Emperor dies. Will Saturninus, the older son, or Bassianus, the kinder son, get the thro
Michael Finocchiaro
Clearly the bloodiest of all of Shakespeare's plays, Titus is literally a blood sandwich in which nearly every character is maimed or murdered in the most heinous ways. It is a double-revenge story of Romans versus Goths and just an orgy of violence end to end. Apparently, given the times when public executions were heavily-attended events, this was one of the most popular plays during Shakespeare's lifetime. It is so brutal! ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Even now I curse the day - and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse -
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.

Bloody, entertaining and visceral. I loved the overall vibe of spiralling, ram
Nick Pageant
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
After reading Madeline's hilarious, spot-on review, I had to read this troublesome play again.

First, I'll be honest, I came to my love of Shakespeare a little late. I was raised on rodeos, not theater, and I had never bothered with plays because I figured I would not understand them, so I waited until I was forced to take a survey of Shakespeare plays in college. Thanks to a wonderful professor, I can now say that I love Shakespeare as much as the next guy of middling intellect.

This particular
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why but I thought that Titus Andronicus would be like Willie's history plays... somehow I got the notion that Titus himself was a war general of rebellious nature who would fight for the people of Rome. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong. Titus Andronicus reads more like a weird mixture between Coriolanus (I am convinced that Lucius is Caius Marcius 2.0) and The Rape of Lucrece (...with more torture thrown in the mix). Oh, and cannibalism.

I've heard from other people that it
This was one really violent play. In fact, a little too violent for my liking. Sure, there’s usually plenty of death in Shakespeare’s works, but in this one it was all angry, vengeful and really cruel? In most of the plays I’ve read so far there have been good reason other than revenge, and if it is revenge we know the character is either debating as to whether it’s truly worth it, or we follow them for a while so we some character development before they kill. But here it just seemed like a blo ...more
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historians will tell you that Titus Andronicus is pure fiction, but I've done research of my own, and I will tell you that it is without doubt the most factually-based of Shakespeare's plays. In the main, this is because there is no time that "didn't exist". After all, aren't we all still "after-Ovid"? And so of all the real people who inhabit this play's bloody spheres, who might the hero be? I would nominate Lavinia, because Lavinia, dear reader, is us. History does to us what Titus Andronicus ...more
A bit of a mess.

Let's start with the good. My craving for bloodlust was met in the last 10% of the play. Andronicus really pulls out the stops at the end and I most appreciated the banquet. Well done.
*whistles Sing a Song of Sixpence*

That said, there are elements here that were better done in other Shakespeare's plays. Treachery and the Moor storyline are far superior in Othello and it's obverse in Much Ado About Nothing. I suppose I need to read Coriolanus to get the unappreciated general and
I had heard about the cannibalism in this play before reading it – it left quite an impression, the wrong kind, as the play itself is engaging, dramatic and when this scene happens, I continued to root for the hero – Titus.

In some ways it’s similar to Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Titus is also a Roman general who has fought and won many wars to keep Rome safe from the enemy, here it’s the Goths. Unlike Coriolanus, he’s personable, so the citizens of Rome like him rather than despise him – I quickl
Roy Lotz
This play is famous for being Shakespeare’s dud, not only bad by his lofty standards but by any standard. Even Harold Bloom, who worships Shakespeare this side of idolatry, calls Titus Andronicus “ghastly bad.” The plot is mechanical and clumsy—but admittedly that’s true of many Shakespeare plays. More important, the characters are bland and flat, with the notable exception of Aaron the Moor, who nevertheless is still leagues behind the serviceable villains Iago and Edmund. But the main problem, ...more
I am shocked, shocked, shocked that this play is officially attributed to Shakespeare. I suppose there is some tenuous evidence linking him to it, but, come on guys, it would never stand up in court. And, in particular, it should never stand up on Goodreads, which has such inordinately high standards concerning questions of authorship.

Let's be reasonable: if the official policy is that the Quran is supposed to be listed as "by Anonymous", then surely the same label is appropriate here? Though I
Liz Janet
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Blood, death, revenge, blood, “I have done thy mother,” rape, involuntary cannibalism, blood.

M.L. Rio
This play is so unbelievably twisted and I think it says a lot about me that it was my favorite at age fifteen.

Bumping this up to 5 stars because I really did love this play. We'll see which one takes the cake as my favorite by the end of this semester, but here are my two responses I wrote about this play (the responses are supposed to be informal if anyone is horrified by the use of "I" and slang lol)

Titus Andronicus: What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?

Marcus Andronicus. At that that I have kill'd, my lord; a fly.

Titus Andronicus. Out on thee, murderer! thou kill'st my heart;
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Are you familiar with women in refrigerators? Okay here's the deal: legendary comics writer Gail Simone noticed that a lot of women end up looking like this:

Which is to say, dead and stuffed in a refrigerator in order to give a hero some motivation. They're not humans; they're pain badges.

Which brings us to Titus and his daughter Lavinia, one of the archetypal fridged women, who's overtly dehumanized early in Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's ur-tragedy and the answer to "What would it be like if
Jul 02, 2020 marked it as tbr-plans-2021-classics-must-reads  ·  review of another edition
this book was forking weird and seriously messy
why did i enjoy reading this
Dec 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, the-bard
This one is tough to review; after a few days of reflection, I think my difficulty in assessing and/or analyzing Titus Andronicus lies in its straightforwardness. I’d like to be able to comment on character ambiguities, on the glimpses of hope amidst the darkness and slaughter, on Shakespeare’s intentions and achievements outside of the horrifying entertainment on the surface. But I’ve got nothing, really. Even Titus’s young grandson Lucius, a seemingly inconsequential character, just wants to e ...more
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more

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